By teaching immigrant parents simple ways to help their children and to reinforce what is being learned in class, kindergarten teachers at Lillian Elementary in Los Angeles are taking practical steps to reduce immigrant children's drop out rates in Southern California. Parents are instructed to direct their children in tracing numbers in salt on cookie sheets, make letters with play-doh, or simply improve children's verbal abilities through increased communication. The teachers believe that lack of parental help sets children up for a disadvantage when they enter school, so the course emphasizes parents acting as the primary educators.
I think this program sounds very beneficial as long as there are parents, like the ones mentioned in the article, who are eager to help their children achieve academically and have the time to consistently make the extra effort to build their children's academic foundation. The article mentions how the principal gave incoming kindergarten parents exercises and goals the May before the school year to help their children catch up, however when they entered kindergarten the same children were still behind. While parents may want to try and help their children, it may just come down to a time issue rather than simply not knowing how to help their children. However, if parents can make the commitment, I can see that teaching them how to help their children will be extremely beneficial and will effectively reduce the dropout rate, especially since LA Unified policy does not aid these children until second grade.
-EMMA CONLEY, ED175